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Ukraine: “We are a little surprised to see the failure of the Russian army”, raises Didier Castres


“We are a little surprised to see the failure of the Russian army”, was surprised General Didier Castres. The former head of the French army’s planning and operations center was the guest of Jean-Pierre Elkabbach in the morning weekend of Europe 1 / CNews.


“We must stop the war.” The appeal of General Didier Castres, former head of the planning and conduct of operations center of the French army (CPCO), guest of Jean-Pierre Elkabbach in Europe weekend morning on Europe 1 and CNews. About the invasion in Ukraine, “we are a little surprised to see the failure, or in any case, what we consider a failure of the Russian army”, he was surprised. During previous military campaigns, conversely, “we were surprised by the army engaged in the Crimea, in the Donbass and in Syria” since “it is an army that we had not seen evolve in this dimension there,” he recalled.

While Vladimir Putin was likely planning a blitzkrieg, the resistance of the Ukrainian people turned it into a war of position. From there to affirm that the Russian army is weaker than what the Russian president expressed?

Between 7,000 and 15,000 dead Russians according to the United States

Nothing is less certain for General Castres, who mentions that “no one was [présent au] Putin’s defense advice when he gave his physical and calendar goals”. For him, the phrase “it’s not going as planned” is therefore in no way a certainty since “we don’t know what was planned”.

What is certain, however, according to the former head of the French army’s planning and operations center, is that “the losses are extremely high”. According to the United States, “there would be between 7,000 and 15,000 Russian soldiers dead during this conflict”, while “the Russians declare 1,500”.

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A possible capture of kyiv and Odessa?

With these data, General Castres strongly doubts the possibility for the Russian army to conquer cities like kyiv or Odessa. And to cite two examples: the siege of Beirut during the war in Lebanon in the summer of 1982, where “no one was able to take Beirut”, but also the city of Mosul, in Iraq, “a city as big as Bourges , so not a big city,” he said.

Between October 2016 and July 2017, “it took about 150,000 men to take it back and it cost the Iraqi armed forces between 27,000 and 30,000 dead”. Didier Castres therefore thinks that kyiv or Odessa “cannot be taken”: “They can be razed, but they cannot be taken.”

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Especially since “it takes a lot of soldiers” to get there, recalled the former head of the CPCO. However, “what we learned in our manuals when I was a young lieutenant, is that it took six fighters to fight one when he was locked up in a city, a ratio of six to one therefore”. And in the current conflict, “this balance of power is not currently realized by the Russians”, he assured.

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